My piece in today’s Fin (I’ll post it tomorrow) has some responses to Howard’s announcement that there may be no allocations of irrigation water for the year beginning in June, unless we get good rain. A quick summary
* Drought relief policy needs to focus on buying back excess allocation
* With inflows apparently suffering a long-term decline, across the board cuts will be needed
* In the short run, we may need to consider intervention and rationing to keep tree crops alive
Meanwhile, in Queensland, there is talk of evacuating towns that are running out of water. This seems an over-reaction (or more likely media beatup) to me. A reported cost of $8000 per week for tankers to supply water to a town of 1500 people is not a huge sum. Stlll, unless rainfall returns to higher levels soon, a lot of communities are going to face decline and maybe in some cases disappearance.